Assess Utilitarianism Essay

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Assess Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a consequentialist approach to ethics, meaning the consequences of an act are what matters. The utilitarian answer as to what to do in any situation is that we should always act to maximise utility. There are two different interpretations of utilitarianism; the positive being that we ought to do that which brings about the greatest happiness of the greatest number and the negative being that we ought to do that which minimises pain or suffering. Utilitarianism is teleological, or goal orienteered, meaning that the end matters more than the means used to achieve the end. The various forms present two major problems; the problem of justice, and the issue of having to predict the consequences of an action. One variant within utilitarianism is Hedonistic or Classic utilitarianism. Which looks at the view ‘what is good for an individual is what tends to promote happiness or pleasure to the individual’. This holds that the only intrinsic good is pleasure, and that the only intrinsic bad is pain. Everything else is good only insofar as it creates pleasure, and bad only insofar as it creates pain. Apart from pleasure and pain, nothing has any value at all. The theory is utilitarian because it holds that the only thing that is relevant to the goodness or badness of an action is its effect on the amount of pleasure and pain in the world. Actions that bring more pleasure than pain into the world are good. Actions that bring more pain than pleasure into the world are bad. Whatever action maximises the balance of pleasure minus pain is the right thing to do. One criticism against utilitarianism is that it seems to license reason to commit acts that forgetting any sort of moral reasoning are wrong according to every persons human rights. An example of this criticism is rape, where the victim’s unhappiness would be discounted as it
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